Friday night, and Halloween at that, his very first date with Rebecca. She took the part-time waitressing job Chuckie had open in September. From the moment she stepped into the diner, Abel knew he was going to ask her out. Long, thin legs, silky brown hair, and those big brown eyes. The look of a goddess if you asked him. Abel didn’t date very often, never had found anyone who measured up to Casey. But, Rebecca, yes she did. He was running late, having spent too much time getting ready. He wanted this night to be special. They planned to eat at the fancy steak place down on Grand Avenue, then take in a haunted house.
Abel picked Rebecca up in his old Mustang, nearly on its last leg, but he couldn’t afford anything else. He was excited, about as much as he had been in years, and anticipating the night out with a beautiful woman. Running up to the door, he knocked three times, nervous, biting his lip. She opened the door, smiled at him, and said hello in her shy way. Abel could barely contain himself. He wanted to kiss her so badly, but knew that was not appropriate at the beginning of a date. He might not know a lot about dating and women, but he knew he liked this girl. He walked her to the car, opening the door for his lady. They discussed the weather, the diner, general chit chat on the way to the steak restaurant. If only he could reach over and touch her hand!
He pulled up to the valet – he wanted to do this right – so he decided to spend a little extra tonight. Abel wanted to show this girl he wasn’t just a busboy; he was going places. He ran around to the passenger side, opened the door and held out his hand. Rebecca reached for him and gripped his hand, stepping out of the car. Abel didn’t let go as they walked towards the restaurant. He had thought enough ahead of time to make reservations, so they were seated immediately. The best table in the house. The rest of the evening went well, as they dined on the best rib-eye that he could afford, a bottle of the house wine, and cheesecake for dessert. This night would be recorded as one of the best in his young life.
After dinner they headed over to the biggest haunted house this side of the Mississippi River. Some of their mutual friends were actors in the house and they recognized them as they ran through. Abel held tight to Rebecca’s hand, never wanting this moment to end. Her laughter and screams of terror made his feelings for her even stronger. All he wanted to do was protect her and never let her go. As the date came to an end, he drove her back to her house, laughing and talking about the fun they had. When he walked her to the door, he turned away, not wanting to push too much. She asked him, “ Aren’t you going to kiss me?” He didn’t need to be asked again. Kissing Rebecca was all he had thought about for the past few hours. As he walked away, all he could think about was saving his money. He was going to buy that girl a ring one day.
Every day at the diner was torture for Abel, but he knew it was one step closer to marrying Rebecca. Every penny, after rent, food, and gas, was put away in a special savings account. It wasn’t going to be much of a ring, but it would be special. Ever since that first date, Rebecca and he did everything together. They spent every night together and if they couldn’t, they talked on the phone until midnight. They were inseparable. She had no idea of his plan; however, he wanted to keep it a secret. Months went by, years it seemed, and one day Abel decided he had saved enough money. He had been eyeing a diamond solitaire engagement ring at the local jewelry store for several months. He just needed to finish up his plans for the proposal, June 17, the night their lives would change forever.
Rebecca showed up to work an hour late on June 16th. Her face showed streaks of tears, bags under her eyes, tired from staying up all night. She grabbed Abel by the arm and dragged him to the back of the diner. “What is going on?” he asked. “I took a pregnancy test and I’m pregnant, Abel!”, she cried, hysterical actually. They had been very careful, both wanting to wait until marriage, but caved in that one afternoon. This news hit Abel in the gut and he could not understand what was happening. It was overwhelming and he needed to clear his head, so he ran outside for some fresh air. What could have gone wrong? This wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen. He had plans. He had bought the ring, putting the finishing touches on tomorrow night. This was not happening.
Before he walked back into the diner, he noticed Rebecca’s car was not in its usual spot. He ran inside and found Chuckie, asking where she went. Chuckie told him that she said she was taking off a few days, heading to her parent’s home in Oklahoma. Oklahoma?! Why did everything seem like it was falling apart? Every single time life seemed to be working out for Abel, something bad hit him right smack in the face. For the first time in years, he had prayed to God that this would all work out, everything moving in the right direction. He just wanted to put the past behind him, never looking back, always forward. It just was not meant to be.